12/24/18 10:15am

For the past 2 weeks, workers have been gutting the gray-painted 1940s bungalow at 1408 Sul Ross St., opposite the Rothko Chapel. In some cases, they’ve chucked the removed house parts in the dumpster that’s parked in the driveway.

In other cases, they’ve been saving them for reuse by stockpiling them inside:


Special Exhibition
07/16/18 10:00am

LAST NIGHT’S ROOFTOP SMOKE SHOW AT THE SUSANNE APARTMENTS Update, 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for The Susanne’s owner, the Finger Companies, tells Swamplot that the fire was caused by a “flying sky lantern,” not by faulty piping. According to the spokesperson, 2 Susanne residents launched the decorative airborne device from the complex’s parking garage, but “the wind unexpectedly caused the lantern to land on the roof of the apartment building along the West Alabama driveway and burned long enough to cause a fire on the roof itself.” The 2 residents called 911 and later reported its cause to fire department arson investigators. A loose rooftop gas pipe sparked this scene at The Susanne Apartments on the corner of W. Alabama and Dunlavy last night at around 9 p.m. Firefighters choked off the blaze by shutting off a valve that fed the pipe — reports the Chronicle — but not before smoke damaged portions of the 8-story building’s top floor. One apartment sustained some water damage, too, but thanks to a layer of steel on the roof — none of the flames made it inside. No firefighters were harmed — and though hundreds evacuated, all residents remained uninjured as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

02/24/16 4:15pm

Metal flashing at the The Susanne, Dunlavy at W. Alabama Streets, Lancaster Place, Houston, 77006Metal flashing at the The Susanne, Dunlavy at W. Alabama Streets, Lancaster Place, Houston, 77006

Highlighted in yellow along the top edge of The Susanne by the now-exposed construction materials beneath: some spots where metal flashing has been peeling off and escaping from the 8-story building at the corner of Dunlavy and W. Alabama streets. A pair of readers send photos and a report from some nearby offices this afternoon, after the latest of the metallic runaways crashed audibly onto the sidewalk out front: “They are metal and full of nails and are falling from 8 stories,” writes 1 of tipsters, adding that “this happened a few weeks ago as well.”

The Susanne opened about a year ago on the former grounds of the Dunlavy Fiesta. Another of the strips had already taken the plunge by about 7 AM this morning; the tipsters caught it curled up on the grassy strip next to W. Alabama:


Ex-Fiesta Party Foul
04/28/15 12:30pm

SUSANNE DISCOVERS THE GROCERY LURE H-E-B Montrose Market, 1701 W. Alabama St., Lancaster Place, Montrose, HoustonHow nice to live where there’s a grocery store just across the street! And how nice to have your apartments across from the supermarket — at least when you’re trying to fill them up: Ellie Sweeney, property manager for Finger Companies’ 396-unit Susanne apartment complex on the site of the former Montrose Fiesta Mart at 3833 Dunlavy St., tells reporter Catie Dixon that 80 percent of traffic to the leasing office from potential residents has been from shoppers at the Montrose H-E-B across the street (where the Wilshire Village apartments once stood). The Susanne’s website speaks highly as well — though somewhat distractedly — of its neighbor: “You’ve got your very own café right across the way,” the marketing copy announces, explaining that the H-E-B was “Designed to be the flagship Lake /Plato [sic] extravaganza.” Nine people have already moved into the Susanne’s first floor; the second floor opens for move-ins next month. All construction should be complete by the end of October. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Finger Companies

12/12/14 10:30am


Is there more change coming to lower Richmond?

The former Shell station and grocery at 1810 Richmond Ave known until recently (formally) known as Richwood Market and (informally) as “Freaky Foods” is boarded up and graffiti-tagged:


Death Knell For The Shell?
08/18/14 4:15pm



Note: The pricing history noted previously in this story was inaccurate. We’ve corrected it below.

From a pint-sized perch above a set of arched windows, saintly statuary appears to be keeping an eye o’er a updated 1925 Spanish Revival cottage near the Menil Collection. The heavenly presence might also guard against any sleepwalking encounters with the steep steps at the bottom of a flight of stairs . . .


09/20/13 1:00pm

The wraparound porch of this updated 1928 bungalow in Lancaster Place lands on the side of the home on the far side of the former Fiesta Mart site 3 lots to the west, where the announced 8-story Finger apartment project (The Susanne) is about to go up. The recessed porch’s overhang shades the bedrooms that line up along the driveway, but the living and dining side of the property appears to get plenty of light — for now at least –  from the west and apartment-free south. The home appeared on the market Wednesday; it has a $520,000 asking price.


03/21/13 2:00pm

So the excavator is sneaking up on the old Fiesta. You knew one was coming. And you know there will be more. As of this morning, the low-slung building at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama hasn’t yet received a demolition permit, but it’s been on the smashing block since closing in July, not too long after H-E-B opened the Montrose Market across the street. Developer Marvy Finger, who now owns the property here in Lancaster Place, has said he plans to build something Mediterranean — a 6- to 8-story apartment complex that might or might not have some retail, too: “We’re going to try to create something really beautiful,” he’s told the Houston Chronicle’s Nancy Sarnoff.

Photo: Loves swamplot

10/03/12 5:34pm

A NEW TEETOTALING CIRCLE LANDS ON LANCASTER PLACE By a vote of city council, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School today became the seventh private school in the city to be granted a 1,000-ft. alcohol-free zone around its campus. Included within that circumference around 1800 Sul Ross St.: the H-E-B Montrose Market that opened last November on the former site of the Wilshire Village Apartments. Last year St. Stephen’s lost a court battle over restricting alcohol sales at the grocery store, though the battle did end up delaying the start of H-E-B beer and wine sales until shortly before New Year’s. The new restrictions will not apply to businesses that already hold alcohol licenses, but they could make a difference to other developments planned near the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. [St. Stephen’s; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Divino restaurant, 1830 West Alabama: Gabe C.

08/07/12 1:40pm

Talk about a gated driveway. This Lancaster Place cottage’s half-a-yard carport extends to the front sidewalk, with a double-garage door and entry gate punched into the lot-line iron fence. The combination gives the front yard a shaded pavilion as well as a parking area. It’s also the starting point of a partly-paved, partly-pebbled path to the front porch and an office in the converted, detached garage at the back of the lot. The 1910-built home has been updated several times, including some work in 2004. Since then, there’ve been big changes a couple blocks away at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama: A new H-E-B Market has replaced some apartments, and some new apartments are about to replace the just-shuttered Fiesta Mart.


07/16/12 3:28pm

Last night at the Fiesta on Dunlavy was the last night at the Fiesta on Dunlavy. Photographer-about-town Sarah Lipscomb, who began shopping at the store on the corner of West Alabama back when it was a Safeway, grabbed a few shots of the grocery store’s interior as she strolled the aisles there one last time:


06/29/12 12:11pm

“I like how this view makes it look like Fiesta is exploding,” writes engineer and Metro board member Christof Spieler of this photo he snapped last night at dusk. No fire clouds are expected, but the Montrose Fiesta Mart will be closing for good on July 15th — to make way for a Finger Companies apartment complex on the site. Spieler’s photo was taken from the shelter of the half-year-old H-E-B across Dunlavy, just south of West Alabama.

More building-turnover photo fun:


06/26/12 11:18pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: PACK THEM IN “Swamplotters crack me up. If this site were home to a bunch of crack houses and Fiesta wanted to tear them down and build this exact strip center (with or without decades of deferred maintenance) with a giant parking lot out front, every one would be up in arms about because it’s not dense enough, or urban enough, mixed use enough or pedestrian friendly enough. I see an eyesore going away, just [like] that dump that used to be across the street. I see $40-50 million of additional tax base that will toss another $1 million each and every year toward HISD and local government. I see room for 500-600 new residents in Houston’s core who will drop countless millions of dollars into bars, restaurants and retail stores and help Houston become an even more dynamic and vibrant city. I see progress. And I like it. Companies are hiring in Houston. People WANT to live in Houston. I say we accommodate them rather than force them to the next mile of empty prairie in the suburbs while letting our own city rot from the inside out.” [Bernard, commenting on Montrose Fiesta on Dunlavy Will Close Forever in Less Than a Month]

06/26/12 1:35pm

Fiesta Mart announced today that it will shut down its store at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama — across the street from the newly built modern H-E-B Montrose Market — on July 15th. Developer Marvy Finger plans to build a 6-to-8-story “Mediterranean-style” apartment complex on the 3.68-acre site, which he bought last fall. Fiesta has operated the former Weingarten grocery store on the site since 1994.

Photo: Candace Garcia

01/13/12 11:21am

Apartment developer Marvy Finger tells Nancy Sarnoff that he’s the developer who’s buying the Fiesta Food Mart on the corner of West Alabama and Dunlavy — and planning to build a 6-to-8-story complex in its place. Finger says the closing is scheduled for February, and that he’s looking to fit 390 apartments onto the 3.68-acre site. Finger has charged architects Wallace Garcia Wilson with designing something “Mediterranean” — presumably a structure dressed up in that style will fit the neighborhood better than Lake Flato’s new H-E-B Montrose Market across the street, the modern Menil Collection campus nearby, the many bungalows and brick homes surrounding the site in Lancaster Place, and the occasional new gallery along West Alabama. “We’re going to try to create something really beautiful,” he tells Sarnoff.